The Government through the wildlife wing of Forests & Environment Department has set up and maintain some Parks & Gardens with a few animal enclosures in order to display and exhibit the importance of wild animals and spread awareness to the people. Apart from playing an important role in ex-situ conservation of important wildlife species and generating awareness on the need for long term conservation of wildlife species and their habitat, zoological parks also add to list of tourist attractions in the state. The State has two Mini Zoos; Lady Hydari Park cum Mini Zoo at Shillong and Nehru Park cum Mini Zoo, Danakgre, Tura and a recreational park i.e.Lum Nehru Park at Umiam.
1) Lady Hydari Park
History of the Zoo
The present Lady Hydari Park was created in 1937, when Sir Robert Neil Reid was the Governor of Assam and it was at that time, known as Lady Reid Pleasure Park. On 4th May 1947, Sir Akbar Hydari took over as Governor of Assam and held office upto 28th December, 1948. It was during his tenure that Lady Reid Pleasure Park was renamed as Lady Hydari Park. During those days the park served as very important place for certain functions like (i) Keeping of Gandhi’s ashes for darshan for the public in the town, (ii) Delivering of lectures by SardarVallabhai Patel, (iii) Organising the, “The All India Cattle Show”, (iv) Celebrating of Hills and Plains Week, and (v) Regular Flower Show etc.
The Park was under the control of the Deputy Commissioner of Khasi Hills, till it was handed over to the Forest Department in the year 1973 and since the creation of the Wildlife Wing in 1977, the Park is now under the control of the Khasi Hills Wildlife Division Shillong. During initial time, Park consists only of Lawns and Flower garden. But later with the creation of the Wildlife wing, park begins to house many rescued animals both from the wild and public captivity. Hence they were kept in small cages to display to the public for bringing awareness among them. With the inception of the Central Zoo Authority of India (CZA), Lady Hydari was registered under the authority and which later on obtained the status of Mini Zoo Lady Hydari Park. In another words Mini Zoo Lady Hydari Park could be called as the Rescue Centre as most of the animals’ house inside the Park are rescued animals.
The Park is located at a distance of about 300 meters South to the main Secretariat Building, Shillong and behind the Civil Hospital,Shillong.
Lady Hydari Park has mainly three Section:-
1) Park and Garden Area.
2) Animal Land and
3) Forest Museum
Animals kept at the Zoo
Mammals:- Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Hog Deer, Rhesus Macaque, Himalayan Black Bear, Indian Porcupine, Slow Loris, Civet Cat, Leopard Cat, Himalayan Yellow Throated Marten, Stumped Tailed Macaque, Serow, Common Fox,Clouded Leopard, etc.
Birds:- Indian Pied Hornbill, Northern Gosh Hawk, Himalayan Griffon , Goose Bar Headed, Heron Pond, Owl Brown Fish, Pelican, Eagle Crested Serpent etc.
Reptiles:- Asian Brown Tortoise.
2) Nehru Park Cum Mini Zoo, Danakgre, Tura
The Nehru Park cum Mini Zoo, Danakgre is located in Tura, in Meghalaya and is the only zoo in the Garo Hills region and only the second one in the state. It was initially started by the District Administration at Tura Park where few rescued animals were kept for amusement and entertainment for visitors. During the year 1967 it was handed over to the Divisional Forest Officer, Garo Hills (T) Division, Tura. Later it became a small rescue centre and started dealing with the problem of displaces and injured animals. The Nehru Park cum Mini Zoo is important for the region because it not only provides recreation to the visitors but also acts as a centre for displaced, orphaned and injured animals which could not be released back in the wild due to more or more of the reasons. Many animals are also being rehabilitated here and released back in the wild when certified fit by the Veterinary surgeon of the Zoo. As the number of animals grew and the need for a permanent holding facility was felt, the zoo was shifted to the present location at the Nehru Park at Danakgre. The zoo has since been as Mini Zoo under section 38th of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 by the CZA vide letter no. F No. 19-168/93-CZA/188 dated 10/10/2005.
Vision of the Zoo:
Tura Mini Zoo was basically started for recreation purposes only however, with the advancement of time, the need to protect and conserve global biodiversity and wildlife was realized, therefore it was shifted to present location with the following vision:
Mission of the Zoo:
Animals kept at the Zoo
Mammals:- Rhesus Macaque, Pig Tailed Macaque, Leopard Cat,Barking Deer, Common Fox, Slow Loris and Himalayan Black Bear.
Birds:- Indian Hornbill, Brown Fish Owl, Crested Serpant Eagle, Purple Moorhen etc.
Amphibians:- Indian Python, Black Soft Shelled Turtle and Assam Roofed Terrapin.
3) Lum Nehru Park
Lum Nehru Park was created on a windswept near barren hillock surrounding the Umiam Lake along the Guwahati Shillong Road, about 16 Kms from Shillong. Lum Nehru Park was named after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who laid the foundation stone of the Umiam Hydel Project at the very place where the park has been created. Work for creation of the Park began in 1989. The Park was completed and formally inaugurated on the 12th March, 1990 by Shri P.A.Sangma the then Chief Minister of Meghalaya.
Area of the park = 22.5 acres.
About the Park - The Park consists of mainly three sections viz-
1) Grass lawns with view points at certain places which are favoured picnic spots.
2) Gardens: Comprising of rose gardens, flower beds containing a variety of seasonal flowers and a green house.
3) A small aviary where where ducks are being kept.
The main attraction however is the location of the park. From here one can enjoy the beautiful scenery comprising the Umiam catchment.